Changing The Look

Of Education

Launch High –  School Model

Cutting edge and completely different

Free Charter School Colorado, Model for Success

Launch High School is a non-profit, innovative charter high school in Colorado Springs for young, budding entrepreneurs. We provide a rigorous academic program integrated with authentic experiences tailored to students’ interests. The practice of entrepreneurship makes for self-reliant citizen-leaders poised for social, economic and personal success. The innovative program at Launch High School transforms your student into a graduate ready to take on the world.

Creativity, responsibility, growth and drive. The entrepreneurial spirit. Launch High School students are more developed personally (demonstrating self-awareness, capacity for risk and perseverance), inter-personally (showing social, ethical and collaborative skills) and professionally (sharpening their communication, etiquette and poise.)

Think of Launch High School as an early incubator for young entrepreneurs – our culture and environment is the ideal training ground for acquiring the entrepreneurial knowledge, skills, habits and values. Everything in the school – from the building setting to the academic structure and support reflect entrepreneurial ideals.

Launch High School, New Concept for Learning

At Launch High School students not only learn about entrepreneurship, they are entrepreneurs.

Launch High School Blended Learning
Blended Learning
Is a teacher monitored, self-paced, self-directed computer-based learning style that also provides just in time assistance and resources including traditional classroom instruction, tutoring and interventions.
Launch High School Personalized Learning
Personalized Learning
Is an individualized learning program tailored to students’ interests, abilities and learning strengths and is frequently modified to match changes in the learner.
Teamwork, Students, Launch High School
Project-Based Learning
Couples academic knowledge with personal interests and motivations to challenge the student beyond games and simulations to true learning and goal attainment.
Students Collaborating, Launch High School
Entrepreneurship Education
While most prominent at the collegiate level, is well-established with standards, research-based methods and countless resources and proponents on a global scale.

Academics at Launch are rigorous, but we know that true mastery of knowledge not only comes from taking in information, but from processing it and then applying it. This is why we integrate practical applications with our academic learning. Through the Launch program – with extensive support from online resources and from skilled teachers in the classroom, the project-based learning our students receive becomes real. We utilize a scaffolded learning system, where students are continually using previous knowledge to build new learning. This foundational structure promotes a deeper level of learning.

In addition to practical applications, Launch has internal assessments and inventories which  include frequent and periodic reviews of students’ academic progress, plans and schedules (from daily schedules to broader annual planning), co-curricular experiences, digital portfolios, annual “Demonstration of Knowledge and Skills” for grade level promotion and the rigorous College and Workforce Readiness Assessment for upperclassmen. Students get the benefit of a wide range of sources of feedback. Teachers aren’t the only ones who will assess student work—feedback can also come from peers, parents, personnel from Launch and from local and global professionals in the student’s field of interest.

There are other schools where students work on projects as part of their learning program. Usually these projects are prefabricated or are simulations addressing made-up problems. What’s different at Launch is that our “applications of knowledge” are both authentic — meaning they are grappling with real-world issues and creating actual ventures — and they are practical — meaning students develop and apply real solutions to existing problems.  Students practice and apply their rigorous academic learning and the expertise they receive from local and global mentors to their own unique passion and interests in a variety of ways at Launch HS. Freshmen and sophomores create mostly school-based ventures, but also assist juniors and seniors in launching a community-based  ventures (from local to global). These projects range from small to large and the most important is the capstone project.

After sharpening their skills in multiple authentic applications, upperclassmen participate in capstone projects. The capstone project takes the form of a for-profit business, a non-profit social entrepreneurship venture, or solving a unique problem using STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math). These multi-year projects are broad in scope, incorporate all of the previous knowledge, skills, experiences, habits and values gained at Launch, and are completely authentic (again, not simulations or games).

Venture groups—which are multiple students working on one project—collaborate with each other and with people in the community, as every venture project has an external advisor/mentor. Each student is the leader of their own project (chosen with assistance and approval of parents and school) and is a resource on other students’ projects. Students gather and marshal resources including professional tools for collaboration and project management (e.g. Google apps) to reach project goals. Upperclassmen also have the opportunity to experience a venture-related internship, externship and / or apprenticeship.

Since Launch High School focuses on whole-student success (not just academic success) through an innovative education model, we see transformation in our students on three different levels:

  •   Individual: Stimulate and guide personal growth (socially, academically and psychologically) to realize full individual potential via self-awareness, self-direction, self-reliance and self-fulfillment.
  •  Community: Produce well-rounded, competent, responsible, innovative, self-reliant citizen-graduates.
  • Opportunity: Expand options and opportunities that provide for individual economic and social success for college and workforce ready graduates.

Unlike most traditional schools, Launch High School bridges the gap between academic knowledge and real world skills and endeavors through authentic application. We create tangible connections between school, individual passions and future plans. The result is a personal road-map of knowledge, skills, habits, values and goals that leads to success—in college, career and community.

When our students apply their academic and practical knowledge to their personal interests in authentic projects, they attain skills that meet and exceed state standards and common core curriculum requirements. Launch students gain and are able to demonstrate a superior grasp of these research-based, higher-level skills:

Executive Functions
  • Focus
  • Working Memory
  • Cognitive Flexibility
  • Inhibitory Control
  • Self-Regulation of Behavior
Survival Skills
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Agility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurism
  • Effective Oral and Written Communication
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information
  • Curiosity and Imagination
  • Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence
Habits of Mind
  • Persisting
  • Creating, Imagining, Innovating
  • Taking Responsible Risks
  • Questioning and Posing Problems
  • Thinking Interdependently
  • Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
  • Finding Humor
  • Remaining Open to Continuous Learning

Student support is integral to their success, so we’ve built an extensive network —made up of teachers, coaches, mentors, parents, peers and community resources–that surrounds your student at Launch High School. This provides the safety nets so students can learn (and fail) as they take appropriate risks — personally, socially and academically. Our system encourages students to pursue their own solutions (and self-advocate), but provides just the right amount of support and just when they need it. We challenge and train our students to step outside their comfort zone and to be self-reliant.

Teachers

Every school says their teachers are top-notch, but we take it a step further: we hire teachers who are not only skilled in their areas of study, but who have experience in entrepreneurship and have demonstrated innovation in their career.

Personal Learning Coaches

Through our Personal Learning Coaches we are able to provide much more attention and support to students throughout the day because we maintain a 35-to-1 student-to-coach ratio. This is in contrast to the typical ratio of 300 or 400 students to 1 counselor in larger public high schools. We make this investment in having full-time personal learning coaches to increase the academic, experiential and personal success of our students.

This intentional support from our Coaches plays a large role in the success of everyone at our school by focusing on the following:

  •  Identifying student talents and passions to create enriching field experiences including internships, externships and apprenticeships.
  • Assist students in creating and periodically modifying their schedules and plans for success – from their daily calendar (academics, appointments, collaborations, field work, etc.) to their career plans all while monitoring performance to ensure students stay on track.
  • Monitoring academic progress, venture project development and digital portfolio providing support when necessary.
  • Assisting in initial development of individual and/or collaborative venture projects and identification of accompanying mentor(s).
  • Supporting students after graduation including networking, advice and incubator-like support for student ventures.
Mentors

It truly does take a village to raise a child into a happy, successful, responsible adult.  So in addition to having skilled teachers, dedicated coaches and wonderful parents, we actively build a network of community mentors (locally and globally) who are able to provide real-world expertise to our students and guide them as they learn on their various projects. In addition to the valuable insight these leaders provide, they also prove to be important relationships and connections for our students for future success.